Josefa “Tan Pai” Certeza to Be Awarded “Sainan Suruhana -Master Healer”


Guam – The Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency (CAHA), a division of the Department of Chamorro Affairs has announced that Josefa Cruz Certeza affectionately known as “Tan Pai” will be awarded the title of Sainan Suruhana (Master Healer) Wednesday.

Governor Edward Calvo; Monica Guzman, CAHA Board Chairperson; Joseph Artero Cameron, President of the Department of Chamorro Affairs will make the presentation to Tan Pai.  The presentation to the 95 year old Suruhana will take place at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at her residence, 316 Santa Cruz Street in Agat.  (See attached map.)

The Guam Masters Award created through Public Law 30-139 was established to recognize Master Practitioners of Guam’s Traditional and Folk Arts.  Initially, the Masters Program came about from a CAHA grant to artist Ron Castro that documented the life traditions of many of Guam’s folk and traditional practitioners.  CAHA recognized the need and importance of documenting existing traditions that were an essential part of Guam’s people and their way of life, that were literally passing away before us.  CAHA memorialized these individuals by bestowing them the title of “Master” in the tradition they excelled in through the production of “A Tribute to the Masters of Chamorro Tradition” Poster Series and a coffee table book entitled “A Journey with the Masters of Chamorro Tradition.  Since 1997, no other cultural practitioners have been presented the title of “Master”. Of the masters who were officially recognized then only a dozen of those “living treasures” remain with us today.

Guam CAHA, other government agencies and cultural nonprofit organizations have continued to perpetuate and promote the Chamorro culture and traditions.  

In 2010, Guam CAHA’s current Board decided to resurrect the Masters Program.   The Board realized its intrinsic value and that the transmission of these practices from generation to generation is imperative to ensure the preservation of our Chamorro traditions.  The depository of the Chamorro heritage is in the minds of these cultural practitioners whose bodies are the vehicles in which the knowledge and skills of that tradition are manifested and performed.  The intent to reinstate the Masters program was to give due recognition to those practitioners and to safeguard/support the knowledge and skill related with the traditional artistry through the continued practice of the craft within the community.  As a result, Public Law 30-139 was enacted in 2010.  The award guarantees the continuity of our cultural traditions, leaving the children of Guahan a vested legacy.